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7 Common Myths About Arthritis

May is Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis is a common condition and one of the leading causes of disability among adults. However, it is often poorly understood.

How much do you know about arthritis? 

Find out with our myth-busting guide.

Arthritis is the term used to describe swelling and tenderness of one or more joints in the body. There are over 100 types of arthritis with different causes.

Osteoarthritis – degeneration of cartilage in joints due to wear and tear – is the most common type. 

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the second most common, is an autoimmune inflammatory disease in which the body’s immune system attacks joints, beginning with the lining of the joint capsule.

Other types of arthritis may be caused by infections or underlying disease, such as gout, psoriasis, lupus or fibromyalgia

Arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, is often related to aging but some types more commonly affect younger people. In the USA, almost two-thirds of those diagnosed with arthritis are under 65 years old. A type of inflammatory arthritis – juvenile idiopathic arthritis – can affect children under 16 years of age. 

Regular, gentle exercise such as walking, yoga or swimming can help to strengthen joint muscles and improve flexibility. Physical activity benefits general health and has been shown to decrease pain improve function. However, high impact sports may increase stress on joints, so it is important to discuss with your doctor or physical therapist the best exercise for you.

Cracking your knuckles or other joints does not cause arthritis. The popping sound is caused by bubbles bursting in the synovial fluid that helps lubricate joints.  If cracking a joint causes pain there could be underlying abnormalities affecting the joint, such as loose cartilage or injured ligaments.

The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, stiffness and swelling. However, some autoimmune and inflammatory types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may also cause inflammation in other parts of the body such as the eyes, mouth, skin, heart and blood vessels and/or lungs.

Arthritis is not an inevitable part of aging. Inherited genetic factors are involved in some types of arthritis but lifestyle changes can make a difference. Cutting out smoking, exercising regularly while avoiding joint injuries, and eating healthy can reduce your risk of developing the disease or delay the onset of symptoms.

Arthritis is a progressive disease but when detected in the early stages, treatments are often able to manage symptoms and prevent further damage to joints. Also, as some inflammatory types of arthritis can also affect the heart and other organs, a correct diagnosis can be the key to preventing permanent damage to other parts of the body.

If you have questions or concerns about arthritis, contact our team of Orthopaedic Specialists at Neuro Spinal Hospital Dubai

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